Monday, December 1, 2008

Car free

This is a big step. I've gone car-free.

That's not to say I'll never drive again, or that a car won't be my occasional choice in terms of transportation mode. But I no longer own a car, and no longer have easy access to one. I won't be able to drive to my son's school if I'm feeling lazy, or drive to the grocery store (neither of these places is far enough from home to warrant driving).

To be clear, I like driving. I like it a lot. But it's an expensive hobby, an unnecessary luxury and one of the most environmentally harmful things I did.

One of the things I'll be doing with the proceeds is buying a bike. I want a bike anyway, so this seems like a good time. Nobody ever questions selling an old car to trade up to a new one, so why should anyone question trading it in for a decent bike (likely a used one)?

Sometimes I do need a car. There are events I need to attend for work that are very difficult to get to by public transit. And there will be times when I want to get out of town to a place that isn't accessible by bus or rail (or where it's very inconvenient). Right now, I'm debating the best option. I'd really like to sign up with something like Zipcar, but am still weighing the costs. Their rates seem to have gone up recently, and since most of my use would be for weekend getaways, I'm not convinced they're economical. The day rate isn't outrageous, but it only includes 150 km, and then it's 30 cents a kilometre beyond that. For multi-day getaways, renting a car might just be cheaper.

What I do like about Zipcar is the ability to grab one for an hour or two in order to run a bunch of errands. I also like that they have cars close to where I live (which none of the rental agencies do).

If there are people reading this blog who have used Zipcar or AutoShare (particularly in Toronto), please comment and let me know how it's worked for you.


Anonymous said...

Wow! I am impressed with your taking the plunge. That is truly impressive and much braver than me. I'd love to hear updates about how going car-less works for you.

Craig Saunders said...

Will do. And keep in mind that my situation is quite different from yours. I have one child and live in the middle of a large city with a decent public transit system. You've got three kids and live in a small town.

In other words, it's just a wee bit easier for me.

orange said...


We use the the Cooperative Auto Network here in Vancouver and it works out well for us. There is a rent vs. coop car calculator available on their website. I can answer a lot of questions for you, as Lisa actually works for CAN p/t.